THE “green loop” ideal is alive and well.
After those road-sharing experiments in Cebu City in 2014, the last of which was criticized by motorists caught in the traffic jam these created, the push to establish a “green loop,” or a road network that assigns a big space for pedestrians and cyclists, seemingly went on a hiatus. Actually, those holding on to the ideal never went away.
In a public hearing at the Cebu City Council the other day, Cornelio Guantero Jr. of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7 and Joseph Michael Espina of the University of San Carlos College of Architecture and Fine Arts (USC-Cafa) asked the city council to adopt the Cebu Green Loop Plan.
In a way, the lobby is needed. In a metropolis where anarchy seems to rule and where lack of vision characterizes much of government planning, it pays for some sectors to prod officials to think out of the box and consider the long-term. How many local government officials thought of incorporating the “green loop” concept in the land use plan?
The Cebu Green Loop Plan is ambitious in the sense that the concept has to be embraced not only by government officials in Cebu City but also those in Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Cordova. And since this is a sort of paradigm shift in the use of road networks, complications have still to be sorted out before the implementation phase could be reached.
It is not enough that we copy a setup that has been successfully implemented in a First World milieu. The local condition, specifically the existing transportation system and culture, should be considered. More than that, there should be a unity of purpose among stakeholders.
On this, the Cebu Green Loop Plan proponents need to also widen their perspective. It looks like many of them pit pedestrians against vehicle owners and indulge in subjectivity. To say, for example, that existing roads serve only car owners is misleading and erroneous. Public utility vehicles and trucks that transport goods also use those roads.
The “green loop” lobby will only succeed if it gains the support of the majority that, interestingly, includes owners of motorized vehicles.